AUSTIN, Texas - Frightening video of a crash in Northwest Austin will make you think twice about immediately taking off when the light turns green. Dash camera video shows a violent crash on US-183, all because someone blew through a red light, and it’s part of a troubling trend.
Hillary and Derek Ross had their dash cam rolling Saturday night around 9:30 PM, as they were stopped at a red light at the intersection of the US-183 and SH-45 service roads. When the light turned green for them, another car crossed in front of them, running a red light. That car was followed by an SUV that wasn’t so lucky—running the light five seconds after it turned, and t-boning a car that had the right of way. Thankfully, no one was killed.
"It seems like everybody is actually doing it, doesn’t make it right," said Shelley, an Austin driver.
People brazenly running red lights is something Austin drivers see almost constantly.
"Every day," said Shelley.
"When you’re in downtown traffic, I would say almost at every light, people are blowing through traffic," said Ernie, another Austin driver.
AAA Texas is seeing significantly more crashes resulting from people running red lights, compared to 10 years ago. According to the National Coalition for Safe Roads, our state ranks second in the country for red-light fatalities.
According to AAA, last year in Texas, there were nearly 36,000 crashes—including 222 fatal crashes—that were directly caused by people running a traffic signal, flashing red light or stop sign.
Nationally, 46% of fatalities in red light crashes are people other than the driver who ran the light.
"A lot of times it's innocent victims who are involved in these types of crashes and unfortunately killed because the driver was reckless," said Daniel Armbruster, spokesperson for AAA Texas.
Capt. Darren Noak of Austin-Travis County EMS says people running red lights are a leading cause of T-bone crashes like the one that happened Saturday night. Noak says those types of crashes can often cause more serious injuries or death.
"If you’re on the side or the lateral part of the car, there’s a lot less vehicle between you and the other intruding vehicle," said Noak. "You’re a lot closer to the impact, and that lateral impact can cause a lot of harm to the body as well."
FOX 7 Austin observed driver after driver brazenly running red lights at Cesar Chavez Street and Lavaca Street in Downtown Austin Wednesday evening. Austin used to have red light cameras until 2019, when Texas outlawed them.
Armbruster says there is data that shows these cameras work.
"In major cities, red light cameras, reduced fatality crashes by about 21%. So they can be effective. But again, it's if they're used correctly," said Armbruster.
But for now, experts say it’s crucial that drivers look both ways, even after the light turns green.
"If I don’t stop, actually three times today, I would’ve hit someone," said Shelley.
FOX 7 reached out Wednesday afternoon to the Austin Police Department about whether there needs to be stepped-up enforcement of people running red lights. As of late Wednesday night, we have not heard back.